How To Succeed With Twitter

By, Tony Guidry (www.aScratchyThroat.com)

twitter iconMarch 2013

Twitter is an essential tool in your social media strategy. With 250 million unique users monthly, and over 500 million registered users, this is a platform where you definitely need to establish your presence. Today our focus is on the best ways to use twitter to reach people who share your profession or area of interest. In other words, we’ll be focusing on how you can use twitter to interact with people in the music industry, in order to learn from the professionals.

I chose to start by sharing with you ways to interact with ‘decision-makers’ and people who influence the music industry because for most aspiring artists there is a NEED to be educated about the business of music.

You may want to start by following the CEO’s of major record labels & their subsidiaries. You may think that if they hear your music they’ll sign you. Well the music industry doesn’t work that way. (But that’s another article for another time & place). As an aspiring artist, the people who influence and choose what goes on in the music industry – the people that are REALLY important to you – aren’t the CEO’s. You’re going to want to follow the DJ’s and club promoters and venues in your area, and the legitimate publicists, managers, etc who offer the guidance you may need.

You’ll also have to determine if these people actually use twitter regularly or not. LA Reid (@LA_Reid), CEO of Epic Records mostly tweets quotes and doesn’t really interact with other people much on twitter (he doesn’t need to). While a person like Wendy Day  (@RapCoalition), who helps build independent labels and artists’ careers, is on twitter throughout the day, everyday. Wendy interacts with her followers and gives them insight and instruction on how to reach their goals in the music industry. But, if you send her something that looks like this:

twitter spoof

I GUARANTEE that she won’t answer you. This is called ‘spamming your link’ and it is TOTALLY ineffective. Only amateurs consider this marketing or promoting. Spamming your link only gets you blocked, muted or unfollowed.

None of the “quick” fixes work. Buying followers doesn’t work. All the social media platforms give you “instant access to millions” – but establishing yourself on twitter requires you to dedicate some time and effort to what you say, how you say it, who you interact with and when you speak (tweet).

WHAT TO SAY

Say nothing at first. At first you LISTEN. The key to growing your base on twitter is to connect with the the people who have similar interests. You can only find these people by listening, watching, and paying attention to what others are saying FIRST. Engage with these people based on the things you have in common. Talib Kweli (@TalibKweli) recently followed me because of our shared interest in the plight of Leonard Peltier.

When you do start tweeting, say what YOU think and how YOU feel. Once you’ve started using twitter regularly, you should easily learn twitter etiquette and find other  people with similar interests. If you’re an aspiring rapper and you befriend other aspiring rappers and follow each other, you’ll have a million followers in no time!!!

Tweet about your interests and your day to day activities. Twitter is a place where communication (back AND forth) is REQUIRED. If you constantly tweet your video link or ReverbNation URL, it’ll be extra hard to have meaningful interaction with others. Who likes talking to someone that’s always self-centered and talking about themselves? NOBODY.

So, you want to mention the things that actually interest you as a person. It’s as simple as being yourself in your tweets and sharing who you are as a person and artist. Follow the people who interest you and some of them will follow you back. Read the tweets of the people you find interesting, and comment accordingly. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll see the number of your followers begin to build. Even more importantly, you’ll meet people with similar interests and goals from different cities, states & countries – and maybe you can network with them to further BOTH of your goals.

Don’t get caught up on the total number of your followers. Follow the people you can learn from and interact with them. If you follow someone who is well respected in the music industry like @RapCoalition, you’ll see that she tweets a lot of good info on the music business and other issues , don’t tweet AT her about your new single or video. Listen first, read her tweets, learn about her and what she does…then when she tweets about something of interest to you, engage her in a conversation on that topic.

The more you use twitter as a tool to converse with others, the more you’ll learn and improve your ability to really network with people. Your mastery of this ability will place you in a position to meet new people who can really help you move forward with your goals in the music industry.

Social Media is only one piece of the pie in promoting your music. You’ve got to tie in street promotions, performances, press, promotional touring, etc with internet marketing in order to maximize the potential of your music. A Scratchy Throat ensures that you have a powerful & professional online presence.

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

Advertisements

If you’re an artist  waiting to be “discovered” or hoping to be given a record deal based on your perceived talent or the “uniqueness” of your sound, it’s time to educate yourself on the basics of the music business. The belief that major labels are LOOKING to sign new artists because of their talent is very far from the truth, and the sooner a person who desires to be an entertainer learns this, the better.

The process of getting “on” doesn’t require a co-sign or “hook-up” from an established artist or record label executive. You get on by building relationships with people who like your music, support it by buying it, and actually listen to it – these people are called FANS. When you get enough fans talking about you and your music, you’ve created a buzz. how to succeed

If you’re able to create a buzz around your music you’ll first attract the scammers, douchebags and con-men. These bottom feeders are the people who want to “sign” you to a “development” deal, or in other words, they want to pay for your studio time in exchange for owning half (or more) of what you create. If you’ve educated yourself on how the business of music works you’ll be very wary of these types of offers. Today’s artists have NO EXCUSE for getting shafted.

All aspiring artists coming up in this “internet age” have heard of or read about the ways that artists have gotten used, abused, and swindled in the past. From the earliest days of recorded music all the way up to the latest headlines, the music industry has been a place where you lose everything if you don’t know the business. Too many of our favorite rappers who were once superstars are living day to day or paycheck to paycheck because they made the hit music while someone untrustworthy handled the business. You’ve seen it happen enough to KNOW that you need to learn how the business works in order to protect yourself.

Succeed-620x350

Now, more than ever, whether you’re a musician, singer, rapper, producer or other kind of recording artist, you can earn a living doing what you love. Don’t let the desire to be “popular” override the necessity of getting paid. If you’re doing music for fun or “for the love” then these words aren’t for you. I’m speaking to those people who aspire to be professionals in the music industry, the people who expect to be properly compensated for their hard work and talent. Believe me, if you’re making music only “for the love”, there is no shortage of people in this industry who will make sure that you get ALL the “love” (i.e. attention) you desire…..as they walk away with the money.

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A ScratchyThroatA Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

written by Wendy Day (wendyday.com)

money2Marketing is the overall image and awareness that is put forth by your brand as you advertise, promote, do interviews and basically spread the word about your music (which is your product). One of the keys is to know exactly who will buy your music, and tailor your marketing campaign to them. The best method to draw in fans is “word of mouth,” so therefore your goal should always be to spark positive conversation (word of mouth) about you and your music.

Who Is Your Potential Fan?

Taking it outside of music for a minute, can we all agree that the person who shops at K-Mart is different from the person who shops at Neiman Marcus? The person who drives a Hyundai, may have different interests from the person driving a Bentley? So back to music now—the person who is listening to or buying Justin Bieber’s music is different from the person who supports Trae. Beiber has a younger audience, more pop music, radio, and internet driven, while Trae makes music to ride and/or smoke to—meaning the fan is older and probably more likely to be male. They are also more likely to buy a CD at the local Swap Meet or the Car Wash, while a Bieber fan may be more likely to download his music to an iPod, smartphone, or MP3 player, or buy the CD at the Best Buy next to the Mall for $9.99.

So, if I was marketing a young pop artist, I might try to book him on Nickelodeon shows and set up a high school or Mall tour. With a rapper who doesn’t appeal to a teenage demographic, I’d probably do more of a college tour, and club dates reaching a 21 and older crowd. So, it’s important to know who is buying your music. You need to be able to figure out the demographic for your music or your song, and that will let you know the direction your marketing needs to take. If you are not able to determine who your fan base is yourself, you need to find someone around you who can. But they better be right. If you are making music that appeals to white skateboard twenty-something kids and you market to young inner city teens, you are fucked in the gate!

When I was out on the road with BloodRaw in February of ’08, I kept dragging him to college campuses because he makes anthem type party raps, and he kept telling me’ “Let’s go to the ‘Hood.“ It’s not that one is right and one is wrong, but that he knows who buys and listens to his music. In this case, we blitzed the ‘hoods first and then grew out to the college and party crowds. He had a perfect understanding of who his market is.

How Will You Reach Them?

Once you know who will buy your music, it becomes pretty clear what your image needs to be to reach your market. In Young Jeezy’s case, he’s that dope boy turned rapper who’s about making money, partying in the clubs, buying material items, and driving expensive cars. In Jay Z’s case, he’s that Billionaire Mogul running his own empire and living the life that this brings. Kanye is the intelligent around-the-way guy who dropped out of college to pursue a dream and feels a need to voice his opinion about everything publicly. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown are the old school ‘hood chicks that every guy knows and loves while Nicki Minaj is the new “Barbie” on the block. Odd Future are the zany “I don’t give a fuck” guys who act a fool and hate everything. Wiz Khalifa is your boy who all he wants to do is smoke weed.

In terms of imaging, Jeezy could rock a suit, but you’d assume he was going to court. He’s much more at home in some high end black jeans and a white or black T shirt with some Gucci or Prada shoes. Jay Z is more likely to be recognized in a button down shirt with cuff links or an expensive Italian suit. Image is a big part of marketing. What is your image? What sentence would a fan use to describe you? Is that description unique or does it fit ten other rappers?

Now, as you promote your image to the masses to gain awareness, it’s important that your message is clear, concise, and easy to understand. A flyer with 20 things crowded on it, and no empty space for the eye to rest, is a waste. Having things mis-spelled or grammatically incorrect is terrible too. Photos that are too low resolution that they look grainy and out of focus make you look cheap and clueless. The look of your promotional materials says a lot about who you are as a person. It would be easier for Yo Gotti to get away with something grimy and street than Jay Z or Puffy. Image is everything, and yours should be consistent.

If you have no understanding of design or aesthetics, find someone who does. If you suck at writing copy, find someone who has that talent to write the words for your flyers, social media pages, website, bio, and CD booklets (liner notes). Find people who are good at what they do and hire them to help you. Know your role and play it. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Teamwork is key here.

When you choose your own lane, try not to bite what has come before you. There is already a Jay Z, already a Lil Wayne, already a Drake. Try not to copy their style or image or sound. Usually the one who does it first, does it best, so be unique.

I suggest to small labels all of the time that they use one image of the artist to have consistency in marketing. First of all, you don’t have the budget of a major label who can afford to market Rick Ross in a suit, a sweatsuit, as well as street clothes. Pick one image and use that for your CD cover, vehicle wrap, website, flyers, posters, etc. It is very rare that a fan recalls a new artist’s name. There are just too many new artists. So very often they will go into the store asking for the kid who is rapping next to a Lamborghini on his posters, or that kid who is into skateboarding, etc. Make it easy for people to figure out who you are. Use one strong image that stands out to market yourself, and sets you apart from everyone else.

When I first started working with TMI Boyz in 2008, our t-shirts were so ugly that I would never wear them. We gave out like 10,000 of those ugly shirts. Finally, we had the logo and shirts redesigned. We had everybody asking for our shirts and wearing them (including me). We even had folks offering to buy them from us (truth is t-shirts are more expensive to print, so we should sell the t-shirts and give out the CDs for free. Ha ha ha ha).

Your marketing mix should consist of whatever you can afford from the following–

Promotions:
Street promotion
Radio promotion
Club promotion
Retail store promotion
Internet promotion
Social media marketing
Publicity (blog, magazine, and media mentions)
Promotional Tour

Advertising:
Magazine ads
Billboards
Cable TV
Radio Ads
Internet Banner Ads

Tools:
Videos & Behind-the-scenes footage
Snippet CDs
Mixed CDs
T-Shirts
Wrapped Vehicles
Posters/Flyers/Post Cards

Don’t forget to incorporate the internet as part of your campaign. While we still aren’t 100% digital yet in this era, it is a crucial part of your marketing mix. To those of you with no budget who think free internet promotions is enough to build an artist, you are wrong. It is exactly what it is: inexpensive promotions, but just one part of your whole marketing pie. You still need the streets, clubs, and real world promotion.

I can’t stress enough the importance of your imaging and marketing. Make sure your messages are clear, well designed, spelled correctly and grammatically correct. And most of all, make sure you are reaching the people who will buy your music, with your imaging, your design, and your marketing mix. This should put you one step closer to success whether your plan is to stay independent or to attract legitimate deal offers from established record labels. (2/2013)

The primary focus of the blogs contained here at A Scratchy Throat  are to help you boost your social reach in today’s online market. Every day, people use social networks to help them sell their music, get shows or sell merch. You can become one of these people with the right amount of research and determination.

 Negative people always know how to fail. They say YouTube doesn’t work because you can buy views; or that Facebook doesn’t give you a proper percentage of fan interaction; or that Twitter isn’t a proper platform to market your songs. They tell you that Reverbnation and Soundcloud are like ghost-towns (nobody goes there). That MySpace is dead. Negative people say that nobody buys music anymore; and that everyone downloads their music for free.

 Negative people tell you these things because they actually believe them. It’s your job to do your research and find out for yourself if what these negative people believe is true.

 Kendrick Lamar went platinum last year, and before you say it’s because he’s signed to a major label, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are independent artists and their single Thrift Shop just went 3x platinum.

It’s your choice to make the most out of every networking opportunity that comes your way. Don’t forget to look at your own expectations of social networks and decide HOW to approach promoting your music online.

AN ONLINE PRESENCE IS NECESSARY FOR YOUR SUCCESS IN TODAY’S MUSIC INDUSTRY.

So where do you start? What network do you use? Well, that depends on the kind of music you make and who you believe is your audience. Billions of people use social networks. Here’s a list of the more popular ones for our purposes:

Now before u choose the site with the most visitors, let’s look at the ages of the users of some of the various network sites:

Modified graphic from pingdom.com

We all know music doesn’t appeal to everyone in all age groups (although I’ve heard many of you say “everyone is my target market”). Even though there are 60 year old women who like 2 Chainz, his main target market is 18-34 men. Even though some 10 year olds may like to groove with Maze & Frankie Beverly, the band’s target audience is 35+ (they haven’t released new music since 1993). So evaluate your music and content. You don’t want to target people 45+ years old if you’re a hipster or gangster rapper; and you don’t want to target 0-17 year olds if you play traditional jazz. Choose your target audience appropriately, and use the network where you will have the biggest possible audience.

Paying close attention to the chart above, you’ll notice that Tumblr has the most 18-24 year old users. If you’re a young rapper and want to engage people from 18-34, then it looks like your target audience uses mostly Tumblr, Blogger, & MySpace. But if you’re more of an R&B type artist and want to target ages 25-44, your audience is biggest on Twitter, Blogger & WordPress. Finally, if you cater to a more mature audience, like 35+, then Facebook, WordPress & LinkedIn hold bigger parts of your target market. Now these indicators don’t mean that you should shut down or not use ALL social networks. This is just an example of the research that you have to do to locate your potential audience.

If you dedicate the time, an internet search will show you which social networks have the most women, the most college graduates, or the most high school dropouts. I think that I’ve given you enough to get you started in locating the people you want to share your music with online. Now it’s up to you to get your profiles setup and to start engaging the people who have similar interests to you. Remember, DO NOT spam your links to people’s pages!!! That doesn’t work!! Get to know ’em first– you’ve narrowed down your prospects and are talking to your target market. Make sure that your aim is steady before you fire!

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.